These are grim days for co-ops with no-dog policies: New York’s housing courts are making it nearly impossible to evict residents who flout bans on dogs, according to Habitat magazine in BrickUnderground.com.
Buttressed in part by tenant laws favoring pet owners, judges are protecting themselves from an increasingly powerful “pet-rights movement,” says Dean M. Roberts, a real estate lawyer at Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, which represents about 100 co-ops and condos in the five boroughs. Says Roberts, who writes about enforcement woes in the November Habitat:
“No judge is going to wind up on the cover of the Post for letting someone keep a dog, as opposed to ‘Old Lady and Dog Thrown Out on Street by Evil Judge.’ The trend in the decisions, especially at the trial level, is to find a way not to enforce the rules.”
That means co-op dwellers who claim their pooches are “emotional support” pets are nearly always allowed to keep them. A mere doctor’s note explaining that the pet helps relieve anxiety is usually enough to trigger the protection of Fair Housing laws.
In an increasingly pro-dog world, many co-ops are resigning themselves to regulating four-legged residents (breeds, size, elevator access etc) instead of banning them. Some are also charging controversial fees for the privilege of harboring a canine. . . a doggie “tax.”
The most ardent supporters of no-dog policies frequently are parents of young children, says Roberts.
“Then they have an excuse not to get a dog.”
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Charles Rutenberg Realty
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